Warhammer Online being overlooked.

Moving away from game theory and the other more common topics generally covered, I wanted to bring up something that has irked me for a while now.

Why is it that in every earnings report and preview, Warhammer is never mentioned as a potential hit for publisher EA? Is it as simple as EA not getting a big cut from the game, so it’s impact will be small regardless, or is it just the opinion of ‘market people’ that WAR won’t set the world on fire in terms of sales?

If it’s the second theory, I really find that really odd. Every report from beta has been very positive, and everything points to a solid, smooth launch for WAR, baring server overload issues and queues like we saw with WoW, but you only get that problem if more people bought your game than you estimated, so it’s kind of a nice problem to have

Now we know an MMO has to remain popular for however long to actually be profitable, as the initial sales are used to recoup development costs, but again WAR is poised to stay popular due to RvR being its endgame, rather than the more burnout prone PvE/Raiding endgame. There is also no big MMO release after WAR for quite some time, WoW expansion aside, as anything really big is at least 1yr+ away, so you have to figure if WAR is a success, it won’t face serious competition for a nice window of time, again helping profit numbers.

Are they just missing what more focused MMO fans have predicted for quite some time, or is there more to this than we are able to see?

10 Responses to Warhammer Online being overlooked.

  1. Tipa says:

    I know this is heretical, but … perhaps full on RvR isn’t very popular to begin with? A fully integrated pvp/pve experience is quite different from WoW’s PvE/solo grind, and perhaps they don’t see the natural market for it.

    I mean, you get a lot of discussion about it from the hardcore MMOers, but we all know MMOers are very fickle and will loudly hate on something they loudly loved the month before. They’ll probably change their tune if it still has an impressive playerbase in a year.

    The WoW players will go back to WoW with the expansion, and it will be interesting to see how many people are left in AoC and WAR after that.

  2. Mikejl says:

    Honestly I never plan to get WAR as it seems big PvP game.
    To be honest I do not like PvP / RvR or big on end game raiding. I like to explore, small group adventures, and craft gear I can actually use. I wish they lift the NDA on beta and allow some beta players to post these details.
    That may draw me in more get my attention.

  3. syncaine says:

    We will find out about RvR endgame Tipa, but just looking at initial response, and the fact that the CE edition is sold out, leads me to believe WAR will at least surpass AoC at launch, and won’t suffer from the massive issues AoC had/has.

    So one would think having the biggest launch in MMO history would at least put the game on the financial radar. And remember that these reports are speculative, dealing with projections. If they think WAR will do well, they report and factor it in now, not after it actually happens.

  4. Cyst says:

    Because they don’t know it’s going to be a hit. In fact, if predecessors are any indication, there is high probability that WAR may flop (hey, I don’t personally think so, but thinking like a business person, this would be my analysis). IMHO, this is a class case of under-sell and over-deliver.

  5. Snafzg says:

    I know 250k subs isn’t as impressive as it used to be, but DAOC had that at its peak and that’s when the market wasn’t nearly as large as it is today. One would assume they could at least double that, which would definitely show up on the financial radar.

    I’ve thought about this myself, Syncaine but I have no answer for you…

    As for the marketability of WAR, I think they really need to start pushing their PvE content. They’ve already attracted the attention of the PvP crowd so it’s time to focus on the majority of MMO players who enjoy PvE. Hopefully, the NDA will drop soon so the beta testers can start hyping the game for them, free of charge.

  6. Wilhelm2451 says:

    Currently the only “new” MMO that EA has launched ever is Sims Online, so perhaps they are a bit shy on the subject. UO and DAOC are all yesterday’s news that shipped on somebody elses’ watch.

    You know, however, if it is a hit that people expect, EA will be highlighting it in their financials.

  7. syncaine says:

    As for marketing to the PvE crowd, if we are talking about the WoW-PvE crowd, that’s the super-casuals who don’t read blogs, reviews, or whatever. They randomly pick up a game because it looks cool on the cover, has a bullet-list of ‘fun’ features, or someone told them to buy it.

    I don’t know how you really market to that crowd, other than having a cool cover and said bullet-list. What happened with WoW is that MMO players who initially tried it love it, and word spread. Same thing will happen for WAR if it delivers, so I’m not too worried about the super-casuals coming over eventually.

    The MMO market was not supporting 10 million accounts when WoW launched, that only happened once word-of-mouth started to spread.

  8. Rick says:

    Maybe EA is underplaying it on purpose, so if it’s a huge hit, they’ll go far above their earnings, and their stock will shoot up?

  9. Oakstout says:

    I don’t know about the year away estimate on the next MMO. Aren’t there a few comic book MMO’s coming out soon?

  10. TheReaper says:

    “[...]baring server overload issues and queues like we saw with WoW, but you only get that problem if more people bought your game than you estimated, so it’s kind of a nice problem to have”

    Actually, you will get that kind of issue with any game that doesn’t fall extremely short of its expectations.
    On launch day you will have more users logged in/using the website/account management etc. than for a long time after that.
    Setting up your infrastructure to handle those conditions without a kink would mean running it at 30% capacity after launch, but paying for all of it.

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